In­struc­tor kept work­ing while he was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

SUS­PENDED JAIL TERM FOR ‘GROSS BREACH OF TRUST’

Derby Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By MARTIN NAY­LOR

A DRIV­ING in­struc­tor from Derby con­tin­ued to give lessons de­spite hav­ing his li­cence re­voked.

Stuart Her­cliffe, of Al­vas­ton, was told not to get be­hind the wheel while he was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for al­leged “in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour” to­wards pupils.

Although no ac­tion was taken against him over the claims, he car­ried on work­ing while sus­pended, which meant he was not in­sured.

A DRIV­ING in­struc­tor has been handed a sus­pended jail sen­tence af­ter plead­ing guilty to fraud and driv­ing with­out in­sur­ance.

A court heard how Stuart Her­cliffe was sus­pended from work­ing over al­le­ga­tions he had made in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments to stu­dents.

Even though no ac­tion was taken against Her­cliffe fol­low­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, he kept tak­ing pupils on the road, de­spite the fact he was not in­sured.

Her­cliffe, 65, for­merly of Airedale Walk, Al­vas­ton, was disqual­i­fied from hold­ing his in­struc­tor’s li­cence while the claims were probed.

Dis­trict Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “This is a sad case be­cause I have be­fore me a 65-year-old man who has never been in trou­ble be­fore and who has led an ex­em­plary life.

“It is fair to say that you have not been charged with any­thing in re­la­tion to the al­le­ga­tions of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

“But one fe­male was made to feel ex­tremely un­com­fort­able by you and she was a vul­ner­a­ble young per­son.

“You con­tin­ued to give driv­ing lessons de­spite hav­ing your li­cence re­voked and, as a re­sult, not be­ing prop­erly in­sured.

“That is a gross breach of trust and the con­se­quences, had there been an ac­ci­dent, do not bear think­ing about.”

Felic­ity Hine, pros­e­cut­ing at South­ern Der­byshire Mag­is­trates’ Court, said com­plaints of mis­con­duct were made against Her­cliffe in Septem­ber 2017.

She said: “Due to se­ri­ous con­cerns about the de­fen­dant his li­cence to prac­tice as a driv­ing in­struc­tor was re­voked but in­for­ma­tion was then re­ceived that he was con­tin­u­ing to give driv­ing lessons. “One of the pupils had been hav­ing lessons with him since May 2017 and, on Jan­uary 10 of this year, had booked an­other with him. Dur­ing it he made her feel ex­tremely un­com­fort­able.

You con­tin­ued to give driv­ing lessons de­spite hav­ing your li­cence re­voked. Dis­trict Judge Jonathan Taaffe

“He asked her, ‘have you missed me?’ ‘do you not love me any more?’ and ‘are you not com­ing with me to my house or ho­tel?’ He also touched her on the shoul­der and af­ter­wards she told her mother.”

Miss Hine said on two other oc­ca­sions Her­cliffe, who gave an ad­dress of Charn­wood Close, Swan­wick, took out stu­dents while banned.

She said: “One of them had a les­son and then took their test later the same day in his car but the ex­am­iner recog­nised the car and knew it be­longed to the de­fen­dant who they also knew was banned.

“And, on an­other oc­ca­sion, the de­fen­dant left one pupil un­su­per­vised in the car with the en­gine run­ning for 15 min­utes while he went to the bank.”

Her­cliffe pleased guilty to three counts of fraud and three counts of driv­ing with­out in­sur­ance.

Judge Taaffe handed him a 16-week jail term, sus­pended for a year. He also handed him a 12-week cur­few, con­fin­ing him to his ad­dress each night be­tween 8pm and 6am.

Judge Taaffe or­dered Her­cliffe to pay £4,000 costs, disqual­i­fied him from driv­ing for six months, and en­dorsed his li­cence with eight penalty points.

Stuart Her­cliffe

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